Corinne Abraham burst onto the triathlon scene in 2010 when she came third overall as an age-grouper at Ironman Regensberg.
Since then she's only been improving, and everyone sat up and took notice when a stunning performance gave her victory in the Asia-Pacific champs at Ironman Melbourne in 2013, although she suffered a serious injury that curtailed her year somewhat.
This season she's been back to full strength, won the Ironman European Champs in Frankfurt and is ready to have a crack at Kona.
We caught up with her at the Uplace-BMC press event at Huggo's restaurant just off Alii Drive on the Big Island...
220: How long have you been out here preparing for the race?
Five weeks, now.
Has it been this hot all the time?
It’s been hotter! The first few weeks I was out here it was – I say over 100°F – about 40°C. Not like all day, but it sort of peaked out at like 42-43°C.
So from your point of view you must be reasonably acclimatised now?
As much as I’m going to. I mean certainly the temperatures have cooled down a little bit from when I first got here. So yeah, I’m as ready to race as I’ll ever be.
From your point of view what are you hoping for going into the race on Saturday?
In terms of Saturday, like I said, I’ve had a really good build-up I have no, certainly no excuses in terms of I’m not injured, I haven’t missed training through accidents. So yeah, cautiously optimistic for a good day.
If I can keep my head together and make good decisions on the day I should be able to put together a good race and again, I’ve got good fitness. But where that will finish me in the pack, you just don’t know! And as much as – I was just saying to Bart [Verhaeghe], the owner of Uplace – you know, we like to win!
And as much as we like to win, sometimes there are people who are better than us and you don’t know how you’ll stack up until race day, literally until the finish line because here at Kona, the world championships, all the best people are here and the race goes all the way, you know you’re gonna have to race all day.
And it’s not the case, if somebody can kill it on the bike then that might win the race for them, but yeah, you know it’s not over until it’s actually over! But I’m cautiously optimistic and I’m in good shape, so fingers crossed!
And being part of the Uplace-BMC team for the last two seasons, how's that been beneficial?
Yeah it’s been great. The support from the team means that we can focus on the swim, the bike, the run, the training and the mental side of our sport and not putting nearly as much energy into sponsor commitments, looking for sponsors – we still work with sponsors as much as we can – but having the team management behind us means that we can focus a lot more on swim, bike, run, eat, sleep, race. I think it liberates us quite a lot as athletes, and lets us focus on being athletes and not so much the business side of things.
And what other support do you get from the team?
Well, for example, I was injured last year, I broke my sacrum and the team were there. They can offer you support in terms of medical support, so I can either fly to Belgium and work with the team doctor or physio there, and there are MRIs, X-rays, blood tests, certainly from a medical perspective you get a lot of support.
Again, anaemia is quite a common thing for athletes – male and female – and they’re helping to monitor your wellbeing outside of your training and that, of course, helps to keep your training on track. It’s a huge, huge bonus for us as athletes, it’s really expensive otherwise.
(Image: Bert Stephanie)
You can follow all the race action via our liveblog right here on the 220 website from 5pm UK time on Saturday 11 October – see you there!